Human Rights Commission of the Maldives

Press Release

Published on 26-10-2010

The role of Media in a Democracy is one of utmost importance, and the Freedom of Media is constitutionally guaranteed in the Maldives as an inalienable right which should not be violated under any circumstance. The Journalists working for the Media must be independent and protected. Despite all of this, last night some Journalists covering a protest in Male’ were barred from carrying out their work, by use of force in ways which might have caused them physical injury. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives condemns this act.

The Constitution also guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in a manner that does not hinder the freedom and rights of others. Therefore, protestors should also respect this and act within the limits of laws and regulations.

In the event of dispersing a demonstration for security reasons, the propensity for violence should be reduced by observing predetermined protocols and due process in such situations. Some issues of concern in connection to the events of last night’s protest is being further scrutinized and investigated by HRCM. We call upon the Police to use proportionate measures in dispersing demonstrations; that would not violate the rights of those involved or cause distress to innocent citizens.

In all such incidences and situations, acting in accordance with and within the limits of law would in effect strengthen democracy and the rule of law. This is crucial for the establishment of a peaceful environment necessary for the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.